Friday, January 06, 2012

The eurozone isn't working

Unemployment in the eurozone has soared to a record 16.4 million people, up 587,000 on the same month in 2010. This is via The Guardian, which is recording a level of unemployment which represents almost the entire population of Holland.

Predictably, Greece is one of the countries worst hit, with 18.8 percent of its workforce registered as unemployed, up from 13.3 percent the same time last year. Spain, though, now has the highest unemployment rate in Europe, at 22.9 percent.

Overall, the unemployment rate has risen only slightly over the past 12 months, to 10.3 percent, but the big difference is in expectation. Fewer in the PIIGS now are under any illusions that work is going to come their way in a hurry.

Also predictable is the wide divergences within the eurozone. Germany actually delivered a slight fall in unemployment (0.1 percent), bringing in a mere 5.5 percent, less than a quarter enjoyed by the Greeks and its lowest level since reunification.

By way of contrast though, the United States is claiming to have added 200,000 jobs to its economy in December, bringing its notional unemployment down to 8.5 percent. Although some may dispute the figures (it may be a lot higher), it still puts the "colleagues" to shame.

Gone now are the pretensions of matching the economic power of the US. It is survival time.